About Spelling Bee
Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.
An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves a champion! At least the losers get a juice box.
A riotous ride, complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a delightful den of comedic genius. The small cast and unit set make this a perfect option for high schools or community theatres. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a fast-paced crowd pleaser and an instant theatre patron favourite.
A little about the characters
The reigning spelling champion of Putnam County, relatively athletic and social, he expects things to come easily to him. Lately though, he’s been going through some weird changes, and things are slipping out of his control.
Actor also plays the role of JESUS.
Younger than most bee participants, she is driven by a desire to win to make her two fathers proud. She lisps, is a little uncomfortable in her body, has some tics, but still manages to strike a strong presence with her political awareness and keen sense of justice.
A second alternate, he never expected to compete this year. Home-schooled with his many siblings, everything about this public bee is an adventure for him. Leaf doesn’t expect to win – or even to spell one word correctly – but he finds absolutely everything incredibly amusing.
Actor also plays the role of CARL DAD.
With a host of health problems and a lot to prove, William is the kid who becomes a bully to avoid being picked on. Still, he’s noticed on the spelling circuit for his remarkable technique – spelling words out on the floor with his foot. Taken out of the competition last year because of an ill-timed allergic reaction, he’s here for vindication.
The ultimate over-achiever, Marcy has never been given another option. She comes from a family where excellence is expected and so simply produced. A parochial school student, she assumes God, too, expects perfection. She sees herself as a mass of problems, but she keeps them to herself.
A word lover, Olive has a fairly quiet life. An only child with often-absent parents, Olive spends a lot of her time alone. She fills some of that time reading the dictionary – the words bring her comfort, as does the idea of the vastness of the world the book contains.
RONA LISA PERRETTI
Putnam’s long-time spelling bee hostess, a local realtor, and 3rd annual Putnam County spelling champion. From her perspective, she keeps the bee running smoothly, upholds protocol, and conveys crucial information to the audience. She thinks of this as a complex cerebral sporting event, and she wants the audience to understand every twist and turn.
Actor also plays the role of OLIVE’S MOM.
VICE PRINCIPAL DOUGLASS PANCH
Panch fell into education, less out of love than a general ability uncoupled to a particular passion. The drive of the young spellers is alien to him. Stuck in his current job, endlessly awaiting a promotion that isn’t coming, he was not happy to get the call that he was needed to substitute as the word pronouncer for the bee.
With a bouncer’s physique and demeanour, Mitch appears an odd choice to be the bee’s “comfort counsellor,” but it’s part of his community service assignment. He has no idea how to offer comfort, but does increasingly find himself wishing he could find a way to make the kids feel better about losing.
Actor also plays the roles of DAN DAD and OLIVE’S DAD.
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